The £1.3bn market continues to decline ­ down 1.4% year-on-year [TNS] ­ and the worry is that unless the brakes are applied, the downward spiral will continue. Youth orientated marketing aiming to reverse the decline in the number of 16 to 34-year-old coffee drinkers is being deployed in a bid to lift the category. "The challenge for us is how we make people drink coffee instead of Red Bull and Coke," says Simon Freedman, Nestlé's in home coffee category manager. He believes the way brands communicate to their consumers is going to be key to bringing new and younger users into the category. "It will be critical for brands such as Nescafé Original to have far greater appeal and relevance to the 16 to 24 age group," he says. Nestlé's campaign to do that began last year with the relaunch of Gold Blend. The company claims the investment has already grown the brand's share of the category by 11.7% year-on-year. The makeover targets younger, more contemporary women and a £3.5m TV campaign broke last month. "On that ground it is competing with Diet Coke," says Freedman. Nestlé is hoping to perform the same trick with its premium Black Gold brand which has been improved and given a new look. Nescafé Original hasn't been left out. It has undergone its first makeover in more than 20 years with a new curvy jar available from October. Freedman promises "a raft of activity to attract younger consumers" peaking in October. Kraft began tackling the youth problem two years ago when it launched Kenco Rappor. The brand now has 5% of the coffee category, exceeding all of Kraft's expectations. On the back of this success, in March it launched the brand in stick packs. It believes the pack encourages trial by removing the need to fork out for a 100g jar. Within three months of launch, the company had sold 225,000 packs [ACNielsen]. Like Nestlé, Kraft is spending huge amounts on its brands ­ £16m this year. It has invested heavily in market research and identified three specific consumer needs ­ social, stimulation, and the break taken during the day. "As a result we have adapted our range and the way we market our coffees to meet each of these requirements," says trading controller Doug McGowan. "Kenco Rappor clearly meets the needs of sociable coffee drinkers, and we can offer a coffee for each of the other needs." In addition to Kenco activity, Kraft has relaunched Maxwell House instant granules with a richer aroma and new packaging. Retailers' use of coffee as a loss leader to increase sales is often mooted as a prime reason for a dwindling value share and Kraft's McGowan agrees with the sentiment. "They are using coffee as part of their corporate objectives to get people in the door, and shoppers stockpiling on the deals has affected the market. "From the consumer perspective its great ­ two 200g jars for £5. Consumers are winning as retailers use our brands to achieve their objectives." Nestlé's Freedman echoes the view that EDLP will be around long term but insists it doesn't help the category when consumption is decreasing. "Asda and Tesco say they employ EDLP but they do promotions as well. Our link promotion with Asda [Nescafé Original 100g and a free KitKat Chunky] was done for two reasons ­ it linked the biggest confectionery brand with the biggest coffee brand making a powerful proposition, and this was all about increasing consumption. It's complementary." But as prices tumble, consumers are also getting a taste for better coffee due to the booming coffee bar industry. Rombouts says that the individual filter cup market has grown 8.3% year-on-year and is now worth £5.84m. Its share of the filter cup market is 66%, up 14% year-on-year. Marketing manager Sonal Ghelani says gone are the days when people asked for "a coffee". "Now they are becoming used to coffee jargon and requesting a latte or espresso." Building on this demand for the real thing is Illy. Eurofood Brands which handles Illy in the UK claims the brand has grown 60% in the UK market in the last 12 months. Now Illy's patented pressurised can which keeps coffee in perfect condition for up to three years is available to the retail sector after long service in the catering trade. Aimed at the top end of the market, the product is made from 100% arabica beans and comes in beans, ground and decaffeinated in 125g and 250g cans. Launched in June, it has gained listings in seven multiples with a consumer press campaign breaking in October. Gala Coffee & Tea, which last year swallowed up Paulig, continues to overhaul its Lyons coffee brand with an improved blend and new soft packs for Lyons Original. The company has also launched a range from around the world consisting of premium coffees from Colombia, Kenya and Ethiopia, including an organic Colombian variant. Premier International Foods' marketing director Ivor Harrison believes the industry has failed the youth market with the wrong kind of innovation. "Innovation in tea has been focused on product formats. All that does is make people switch from one brand to another. We need to innovate beyond that kind of change." PIF says tea suffers from an old fashioned image, but that with Typhoo there is an opportunity to change consumers's general perception of tea. Typhoo activity will be kicking off in a muted way with instant wins and pack offers but, says Harrison, within the next six months there will be big changes including new products. New speciality products are already being developed under the London Fruit & Herb brand to tap into the demand for fruit and herbal infusions. The health benefits of antioxidants in tea will be the main thrust of Tetley's future marketing activity. It is already a supporter of the British Heart Foundation. Special 240s packs are in the second phase of the year-long Healthier Folk campaign, and a special on-pack offer with a fundraising component is planned for later in the year. The company has also just launched what it claims is the first business to business web site in the category ­ ­ specially designed to help retailers grow sales. Tea may be seen as the loser in the market, but the speciality sector is the exception. Green teas low in caffeine and high in antioxidants have captured consumers' imagination. Unilever Bestfoods is increasing support for its Tchaé range with a new mint variant imminent. UB claims Tchaé leads the green tea sector with a 28% value share. Jacksons of Piccadilly brand manager Caroline Pourille says: "Consumers continue to soak up the innovations in hot beverages, with organic options and green tea being particular areas of growth." The company quotes Nielsen figures for July showing the green tea market is worth £5.5m ­ 6.7% of the total premium tea market. Meanwhile Twining's UK retail marketing manager Elizabeth Edwards says it is no longer a decision about tea or coffee, it's about what product will suit the mood consumers are in at the time, and it is speciality products which are benefiting from this decision-making process. Sales of Twining's organic English Breakfast Tea and Earl Grey have helped a 191% growth in the value of the range. Clipper meanwhile has launched more than 12 organic products and says its new look has ensured an impactful on-shelf presence. Organic, fair trade and unusually flavoured drinks such as spicy organic Indian chai have kept the company in the forefront of the market growth. Clipper's Kate Shannon says consumers are becoming more aware of where their tea comes from, how it is produced and what happens to the people who produce it. Cafédirect is celebrating its 10th anniversary and also the news that Teadirect is the fastest growing brand in the tea category, up 55% year-on-year. The success is due to interest in fair trade and product quality, the company believes. It has just launched three organic variants ­ Earl Grey, green tea with lemongrass, and green tea with cinnamon. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}